Friday, January 07, 2011


Friday Baseball Standings

**So on December 13th, the Flames were 4 games out, and I said:
Their schedule for the next 10 games is about as favourable as you could hope for. If they can't make up more than half the gap between them and 8th by the time they head into Vancouver on January 5th, then maybe they are as bad as their record.

I guess they pretty much are. One thing that just struck me today that reinforces this: the big wins they had in October, the ones that showed us that the Flames would be a good team if they played right etc. etc., were agains Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Jose. Here in January, needless to say, no one's oohing and aahing over smiting these particular enemies.

**Now that I've been doing this standings format for a few years, there's a bit of data for year-to-year comparisons. Through January 2 this year, the Canucks were 16 games over .500 to lead the league. Through January 2 two years ago, both the Sharks and the Bruins were 24 games over .500.

**More on that: memory is funny, both in the "interesting" and the "ridiculous" sense. Your average Oiler fan around here (and by average I explicitly mean "not just the really stupid ones"), not to mention the local media, really believes that (1) the previous three seasons were lousy and hopeless on a persistent, game-to-game basis, and (2) right now represents a unique moment of hope and promise.

I think Tyler, Jon Willis, and many others have done a fine job expounding on the fact that young & promising does not necessarily lead to prime & successful. The other fallacy, though, tends to go mostly unaddressed: most unsuccessful teams seem a lot worse in retrospect than they do in the moment. Do you realize that the Oilers were alone in 7th place, 1.5 games up on 9th, on March 20, 2009? Of course you do - it's what made Steve Tambellini decide that adding Quinn and Khabibulin was a good idea. For rebuilding.

**"I've sat quiet and I've worked my (butt) off all year. I haven't said anything, while Arniel has gone to the media and said, basically, that I can't play. It gets to the point where I have to have some personal pride and I have to stand up for myself." -- Mike Commodore

Given where Scott Howson learned the hockey ops trade, I assume he's now searching for an ECHL team with which to place Mike Commodore.

**Good piece by Tom Benjamin this week. Naturally, I hope his season as a fan ends in wrenching heartbreak, but he's really eloquent regarding what it's all about. Which is also to say, Go Flames.


The Oilers, I note, were a near playoff team in terms of the final standings in 2008 and 2009, and were in playoff contention prior to the Smyth trade in 2007 at the deadline.

2010 is the first year we sucked royally, thanks to tooling up for a stronger playoff run the preceding summer (to be fair, injuries made us much worse, but a 4 and soon 5 year track record starts to make excuses look like just excuses).

The 2008 team was wildly lucky in terms of getting shootout games and winning them. It was a junk team that went on a run.

As for the 2009 team, my recollection is that we all knew the schedule was coming. If there was some way to check out Lowetide's site, I'd go back and find it but I seem to recall basically predicting what would happen in February. The end of the season was nuts.

In retrospect, the whole thing was kind of a testament to MacT's skills as a coach, given what happened once we installed a role the lines guy.

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